Pacifism as Pathology

Pacifism, the ideology of nonviolent political resistance, has been the norm among mainstream North American progressive groups for decades. But to what end? Ward Churchill challenges the pacifist movement’s heralded victories—Ghandhi in India, 1960s anti-war activists, even Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement—suggesting that their success was in spite of, rather than because of, their nonviolent tactics. Pacifism as Pathology was written as a response not only to Churchill’s frustration with his own experience, but also to a debate raging in the radical and academic communities. He argues that pacifism is in many ways counter-revolutionary; that it defends the status quo, rather than leading to social change.

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